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The call of husbands, fathers

By Sean Martin
John Paul II Generation

Blessed Pope John Paul II truly rose up an army of people of hope, now led by Pope Benedict XVI. We see hope in the Catholic Church through the renewal movements and events such as World Youth Day. Pope Benedict XVI has taught and inspired many through his encyclical On Hope. In a world where sin is so prevalent and acceptable, we need hope! Many sins that were once done in secret, now seem to be done out in the open for everyone to see. It seems that some people are no longer embarrassed or feel shameful about their own sin or deny they have sinned all together. We find in our society today an incredibly large divorce rate, broken families, extreme violence and crime, famines, sicknesses and diseases. Abortion is so widely accepted that over 50 million babies have been killed in the United States since 1973. Our society has accepted euthanasia, contraception and sterilization for contraception purposes. In this culture of death, we need more than ever the gospel of life! We need hope, hope in Jesus Christ and the salvation he offers us! We are called to witness and proclaim the gospel of life and stand against the culture of death, beginning within family life and in particular by husbands and fathers.

What has God called husbands and fathers to do?
From the beginning man’s role as husband and father was to procreate, care for and have dominion over creation (Genesis 1:28). God called man to keep and guard the Garden. “The Lord God gave the man this order: You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; when you eat from it you shall die (Genesis 2:16-17). The serpent entered the Garden, approached the Woman and twisted God’s command around and said “did God really say, ‘You shall not eat from any of the trees in the garden’” (Genesis 3:1). The Woman was tempted and “so she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it” (Genesis 3:6).

If the text is read carefully, one must wonder where in the world was Adam while Eve was being tempted by Satan. God called Adam to care for the Garden and have dominion over all the animals. The author of the book of Song of Songs describes a woman as a garden. “A garden enclosed, my sister, my bride, a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed” (Song of Songs 4:12). Adam’s duty was to guard the actual garden and his wife Eve. He was called to not allow the serpent to enter into the garden. But, it seems, instead he stood by and watched Satan enter the Garden. He let the Devil speak to his wife, and did nothing to stop it.

The Original Sin was a sin of disobedience and pride. Pride is the root of all sin. Pride is saying to God “I don’t need your help and grace.” But in fact, we do need God’s help and grace. We cannot possibly fight Satan alone. How many of us try to do it alone? Then, when we sin, we cover it up. Adam and Eve sinned and hid from each other by sowing fig leaves. They tried to run and hide from God. When we sin, we try to hide it from each other and try to cover up our sin from the Lord.

Husbands and fathers are called to fight against the sinful temptations of the world, the fleshly concupiscence, and the Devil and his cohorts. Men are called to safeguard their gardens, their wives and children, especially through prayer. Husbands and fathers are called to pray daily and lead family prayer. We cannot possibly do what God wants us to do without communing with the Lord. Men should offer fasts and sacrifices to the Lord. Husbands and fathers are called to lay down their lives for their spouses and children (Ephesians 5). Men are called to avoid the occasions of sin: a person, place or thing that leads us into sin. This might lead to living a radical life! “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood” (Hebrews 12:4).

Husbands and fathers are called to treat their bodies and souls and others with respect. Men are called to cling and grasp to the Lord in everything, and to take on responsibility for their own actions. Husbands and fathers are called to safeguard and protect their “gardens” against the evils of this world, to be that instrument of hope in Jesus Christ!

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